Private Investigator
Private Investigator

The idea of a private investigator is, thanks to popular culture, one that sounds quite exciting and mysterious. And the work that we do can be quite exciting, but often the reality is that it’s just good old fashioned hard work, alongside solid understandings of the law and the best methods to use to find information.

However, a lot of people spend time searching for information about private investigators online, whether they have any intention of using one or they just want to learn more about this intriguing profession. So, with that in mind, here are some of the most popular questions about private investigators, and the answers you’ve been looking for.

What does a private investigator do?

Private investigators do a lot of different things – it’s not just about following people around to try to find out if they’re cheating on their partner. Ultimately, a private investigator is finding out information – they’re one of the best researchers in the world. Just normally, they are researching people, including their activity.

So that might be finding someone who has been missing, or identifying somebody who has been breaking the law due to fly-tipping, or serving alcohol from an unlicensed premises. And yes, sometimes it does involve finding out if a partner is cheating or not.

Is using a private detective legal?

Using a private detective or private investigator is legal, but you must understand that reputable PIs can only offer certain services. Private investigators do not have free will to break the law in order to find out information – they must act in accordance with all laws.

Don’t worry though – the best private investigators, like our team at EJM Investigations, are fully versed in the legalities of what they can and can’t do, and are still highly experienced in getting results.

Does the UK have private investigators?

Yes, the UK does have private investigators – including our team at EJM Investigations. Some people think that a PI is someone you’d only find in the US, because that’s where a lot of the cool movies or TV shows are set where you’ll find an investigator. But there’s a lot of PIs in the UK – some reputable, others maybe not so much.

Is private surveillance legal in the UK?

Generally, private surveillance is legal in the UK provided you follow certain parameters and restrictions. Recording someone for any use that isn’t personal, without their prior knowledge, is often illegal if done in a private setting. That’s why it makes sense to use the services of an experienced private investigator that knows the limits of the law. The last thing you want to do is get into legal troubles yourself.

How do you become a PI?

There’s no single route to becoming a private investigator. A lot of PIs in the UK are former police officers, or those that have experience in the law and legal proceedings in the UK. If you’re interested in hiring a PI, look for someone who is a member of the professional networks in the UK, and that has clear evidence of impartial reviews to let you know they are genuine.

Can a private investigator follow you around?

Provided you are in a public space, then a private investigator is able to follow you. If they follow you onto your private property, or they act in a way that could be considered harassment, then they will likely have overstepped. That’s why private investigators go to considerable lengths to avoid detection – they don’t want the person being followed to know, as this could lead them to argue harassment.

How do you tell if a PI is following you?

It’s not usually easy to tell if a private investigator is following you, if they’re any good at their job anyway. They will keep their distance, and go to every effort to blend in.

If you feel you are being followed by someone, it’s usually not the best idea to confront them. If they are a private investigator and you did confront them then they would probably walk away and leave you alone, although they would refuse to answer any questions about what they were doing.

However, it could be somebody else following you, which is why confrontation is best avoided. If you’re concerned, you can head to the nearest police station.

How much is a private investigator?

The costs of a private investigator vary depending on the job and the work involved. There’s no simple answer on how much a PI would cost you. However, any good PI will make sure you fully understand the likely costs involved before they start any work. You shouldn’t have surprise costs sprung onto you. However, expect to pay a deposit upfront.

Can private investigators hack someone’s social media?

Private investigators cannot access data in an illegal way, which includes hacking into someone’s social media accounts. If you were hoping to read your partner’s Facebook or WhatsApp messages, a private investigator will not be able to help. They can access a huge wealth of information about somebody, but always using legal methods.

Is it worth hiring a private investigator?

Whether it’s worth hiring a private investigator depends on the nature of the job. A reliable PI will always be honest and upfront on what they can and can’t help with, and the chances of success. It’s then up to you to weigh up the costs against that, and decide how important the task is.

Who can hire a private investigator?

A lot of people assume that private investigators are only ever hired by individuals looking to check up on their partner, or find a biological parent. In reality, a lot of the clients we work for are businesses that need help with surveillance or investigating potential fraud, or solicitors who need support with legal cases or serving legal documents.

Can a private investigator arrest someone?

Private investigators do not have special powers to arrest somebody, so if they witnessed a crime they would likely contact the police and report it, and take down any details ready to hand over to law enforcement. In theory, a private investigator could arrest someone but only in the form of a citizen’s arrest, which is an option open to anyone in certain circumstances.

Hopefully that’s cleared up some of your top questions about private investigators, but let us know if not. And if you think you might need the help of a private investigator, just give us a call on 01772 334700.